William Goldman, RIP

During the evening on November 16, I saw a tweet from Stephen King that author William Goldman, who wrote the script for Misery,  had died. What a loss of a great talent – a novelist and screenwriter who won two Oscars.

Every writer has favorite writers, those authors who books captivated you, taught you something about writing, plotting characters, the art of storytelling. Goldman was one of those authors for me. I first came across him through his novel Control, one of the eeriest, most tightly plotted  paranormal stories I’ve ever read. I looked on Amazon to see if it was still in print (no, but it will probably be brought back into print now) and was surprised that it only has 10 reviews and 3.5 stars. In the years since 1983, when I first read it, I’ve read the book two more times and each reading deepened my appreciation for Goldman’s command of language, suspense, subtlety, plotting, and characters.

Some of his other books are in our library, too. Heat, The Color of Light, Marathon Man, The Princess Bride. I also loved many of the movies for which he wrote the screenplays – Misery, of course, Marathon Man, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and All the President’s Men.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote an interesting retrospective piece on Goldman. If you haven’t read any of his novels, start with Control. The opening line is brilliant: “If there was one place in this world Edith never expected trouble, it was Bloomingdale’s.”

This line then leads into the kind of trouble Edith encountered and when you surface for air again, you’re at the end of the book.

My hope is that William Goldman in the afterlife is already busy coaching aspiring writers to write the best stories they can.

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4 Responses to William Goldman, RIP

  1. Dale Dassel says:

    I just saw this post and realized that Goldman wrote the screenplay for one of my favorite (non-Indy) movies, The Ghost and the Darkness, based on the true account of John Henry Patterson, a British engineer who killed a pair of ferocious lions preying on railroad workers building a bridge across the river Tsavo in Africa at the turn of the 19th century. I’ve watched that movie countless times, and read Patterson’s autobiography. A fascinating story!

  2. DJan says:

    P.S. Found a used copy of Control for $5 on Amazon. Not available at my local library.

  3. DJan says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m always looking to discover new authors I haven’t read before. I’ll started with Control. I often learn something I’m glad about right here.